Are Adventure Bikes Heading in 2 different directions?

Discussion in 'Crazy-Awesome almost Dakar racers (950/990cc)' started by Tumbleweed ADV, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. Tumbleweed ADV

    Tumbleweed ADV Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    38
    Location:
    Bend, OR
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Large adventure bikes....small adventure bikes...all share theme: adventure.

    Are adventure bikes 1000+ cc becoming TOURING on road bikes while bikes sub 700 cc are heading BACK COUNTRY for off road thrills and spills?

    As I read more and more ride reports, it seems to me I find more people riding on machines that are sub 700cc in size...especially world travelers and those who are traveling solo...

    While I thoroughly enjoyed my 1150 GSA for many years, last summer's trip on it on the Great Divide Ride got me rethinking my riding goals and strategy. I think I decided somewhere in New Mexico after my 5th 'pick up' to go lighter. Yup: lighter.

    When I returned from Arizona at the end of that journey, I attended the KTM rally in September in my hometown. I took a 690 out for a demo ride. Wow! The bike handled like a sports car and the fun of riding a less cumbersome bike had me hooked.

    Can a smaller, lighter bike replicate some of the comfort values I appreciated in my big BMW? That has been my goal in setting up my KTM 690 Enduro. This summer I am working to duplicate the positive features of my larger bike.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. PPiA

    PPiA Pete

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2001
    Oddometer:
    1,190
    Location:
    Bungendore, Australia
    KTM made the 1190R for you.
    #2
  3. Helipilot

    Helipilot Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2007
    Oddometer:
    198
    Location:
    Arkansas
    I think you have a good point. I have the 990A and a Honda XR650L. Both are "adventure" bikes but the KTM990A is not for technical offload with my riding skills needing help to pick it up. I will be interested to see your evolution of the new bike.

    Good luck!
    #3
  4. Orangecicle

    Orangecicle On a "Quest"

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,106
    Location:
    West Des Moines, IA
    Very good thoughts. I love my 950 to death. No way would I ever sell it. It takes me anywhere I want to go with amazing agility, and it's so much dang fun to ride.

    [​IMG]

    Then one day I met this guy in town -- TrailGoat on advrider. We decide to go ride together on some trails by the river and gravel roads, me on my 950 and he on his 690R:

    [​IMG]

    Let me tell you, that little bike of his was amazing in the tight stuff. We rode in the woods in trails that had been rutted by four-wheelers. I struggle, and he just zipped through without problems. We hit a little washout that was sandy. He just popped the front end up and over he went. I hit the throttle and spun the rear wheel before wrestling the big pig through. I got off-line and bumped into a stump on the far side, but no major damage.

    Later that day we hit some gravel roads -- some of it very DEEP gravel. Again, his little, lightweight bike could easily take on the toughest of gravel riding without problems. We were about on par on the gravel.

    Then we did a couple of road bits, and I easily had the better bike for that. Still, he kept up pretty well.

    Ever since then, I've thought that I would really like to have a lighter version of the 950. I'm not at all interested in a 1200cc bike of any make. What do I need that for? I'd much rather a V2 700cc version of the 690 with a good rear frame, maybe with this styling. :clap

    [​IMG]
    #4
  5. Mr_Snips

    Mr_Snips Husky BRAAAAAAAAP!

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    356
    Location:
    Yucca Valley, CA
    It depends on where you want to adventure...If your looking to go ride single track all over the world...1200cc aint the right bike, with that said if you want to connect all those trails with super slab and some fast roads than 450 aint really happy either.

    It all burns down to the old saying there is no one tool for every job.
    #5
  6. grant22

    grant22 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    Oddometer:
    602
    Location:
    Lake Havasu, AZ
    I don't understand 690's. Not knocking them, but doesn't a 525/530/500 exc do the same thing? For less? Maybe a tad slower? Excuse my ignorance on this one.

    A friend of mine thinks with the 1190 coming to the states that there'll be a new lighter v-twin adv bike from ktm. One that will split the difference between the 500 and 1190. Something like an 800 adv.


    I wouldn't mind if they did.
    #6
  7. Tumbleweed ADV

    Tumbleweed ADV Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    38
    Location:
    Bend, OR
    All great comments above! :clap

    There is no doubt that nothing can beat the 1200cc on super slab. So how do we get that 690 to feel MORE like that 1200cc on the road? We already know it's awesome off the road. I believe we can get within shooting distance and improve the ride. How to keep those hands from getting numb. :wink:

    To start this process? That 690 of mine shown above in pix has a better range than the 990 or 1150...better range except for maybe a GSA tanker.
    #7
  8. Tumbleweed ADV

    Tumbleweed ADV Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    38
    Location:
    Bend, OR
    I like the look of TrailGoat's fairing. Do you know what kind it is?



    Regarding the 500 series, the 690 has a counter balancer that makes it incredibly smooth for a thumper. This is a major difference between the 500 and 690.

    As to the 1190, I'll let you know how I like the ride as I plan to test drive/evaluate the bike in Steamboat at the KTM rally. Looking forward to it!

    My latest mantra? Ride a bike no more than twice your body weight...unless you are taking steroids. :1drink A 690 is approximately 300 pounds and 75 horse power. (OK...so I could ride a 350 pound bike....so I load up with gear and farkles to make up the 50 lb? )
    #8
  9. BigNastybrp

    BigNastybrp Big Nasty

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    696
    Location:
    high speed boogie land, Sunny Ca.

    Well said, after 11 years on my XR650R on the same top and bottom end. I got the 990r for two up rides. if I am not in a rush I can go any place on the xr. down side on the free way 63 mph feel ok and I can blast up to 100 mph but I feel bad running for hours at high rpm. with the 990r I can ride anyplace at 80 mph not feel bad ride 80% of the same stuff. slower in the tight stuff but I can do it.
    Like most things in life compromise.

    Make me a 800cc sub 300lbs 100 rwhp bike with a low first, second and a tall 6th. that would be sweet!
    #9
  10. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,128
    Location:
    Passing ADV Stalkers in California
    Right, a smaller V-twin would be very cool.
    Have you ridden a 525/530 on the highway? Not the whole world is single track. I've ridden the 525 and it nearly crippled me ... as bad as the 640.
    The 690 by contrast is quite smooth up to about 80 mph. After that vibes creep in. The 690 is also gear taller ... so better road bike. But you pay some extra weight.
    #10
  11. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,128
    Location:
    Passing ADV Stalkers in California
    "Adventure" these days has broad definitions. Small and large bikes provide a very different sort of experience, IMO. Call it what you will.

    the trend towards smaller bikes among RTW travelers is not new ... and the fact is much smaller bikes than 700cc ones have been in play for years. More and more guys riding 250's, some bought locally, some bought "In Country" somewhere as Indian and Chinese bikes are endemic throughout the "3rd World". And how many riding buddies or ADV members have cashed in the R1200GS for a DR650, KLR, DRZ400, WR250 ... or some other Anvil reliable generic Jap bike?


    I think you're doing the right thing. Do the best you can ... but your 690 will never be an 1150GS on a 12 hour day running 90 mph carrying 150 lbs. of gear.

    As you travel more I'm guessing you'll fine tune and alter your desires for bikes and travel style. Clearly, if doing more off road and exploring in the 3rd world ... the 690 is good.

    I would look at what successful RTW riders are riding ... copy them! :lol3
    Or just take off ... see how you do! Once out of the USA I have a feeling you're priorities will change ... and your race bike may start seeming a little ridiculous for where your going, your pace and conditions your riding in. When a local on a 125 in Flip Flop passes you in a mud rut ... well, then you know your bike is too big! (been there, had that exact thing happen! :D)
    #11
  12. bikyto

    bikyto Dans le doute...gaz!

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,323
    Location:
    Northern Cali
    It's a lynx from Britannia composites
    #12
  13. Tumbleweed ADV

    Tumbleweed ADV Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Oddometer:
    38
    Location:
    Bend, OR
    Looked em up! Just what I need, took a ride over the cascades to the BMW rally last week averaging 70+ mph and would like more wind protection at speed. Plus they offer some lighting upgrades. Next upgrade the ktm seat!
    Looking at seat concepts?
    Almost there in the touring feel!
    #13
  14. salvadorfrieri

    salvadorfrieri Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2010
    Oddometer:
    125
    Location:
    Cartagena, Colombia
    Something like this?

    [​IMG]
    #14
  15. Whec716

    Whec716 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
    112
    Location:
    Spring, Texas
    690 isn't as high strung either, so you don't have the crazy service intervals. Based on the factory recommendations, you'd do an oil change every night on the TAT. Whereas on the 690 you'd only do 1.
    #15
  16. nomad guy

    nomad guy A legal alien

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    914
    Location:
    Stranded in Berkeley, CA
    One needs to remember that the "Adventure" segment is mainly a genius marketing branding tool that makes us keep spending our money.
    Since it is a constantly growing market every manufacturer with his definition of it and with his budget for r&d.
    I too own an "Adventure" bike, its a great bike, but the longest ride i had on it was a 4 days ride.
    On the other hand i spent 6 month riding India on Royal Enfield in the early 90s' and it was a great adventure. Circumnavigated Australia on a XT550 with a duffel bag strapped to the rear rack.
    What you are seeing are trends dictated by the marketing departments.
    The adventure is in your head not with our constant chase for the perfect "Adventure" bike and the perfect "Adventure" gear.
    #16
  17. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,128
    Location:
    Passing ADV Stalkers in California
    Very cool bike Salvador ... y carrisimo en Colombia, no? :D Y, muy pesada tambien. Como 230 kgs.

    This weight is what BMW claim to be the "wet weight". I doubt this ... and would bet a dollar it's at least 530 lbs. wet. .. or more.
    Now ... fill up your hard bags (about 40 lbs. alone, unloaded) with all your crap ... now what weight are you up to?
    [​IMG]
    To me, this bike goes down a dead end road for anyone serious about exploring off road. Sure, it's smaller, lighter than the 1200 GS, but not all that much lighter in the ADV form shown above.
    If you stay on road ... or only ever do easy dirt roads ... PERFECT. But I for one would never take that bike on a trail of any kind, or into deep sand or mud. YMMV.

    Here is my "middle of the road" bike. And it's dirt cheap too ....
    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. Adv Grifter

    Adv Grifter on the road o'dreams

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,128
    Location:
    Passing ADV Stalkers in California
    Spot on Guy! Plus ++++ 10
    #18
  19. KMC1

    KMC1 There is no spoon.

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,996
    Location:
    Greater SLC
    I have a GSA and a 530 EXC....and I can tell you that I love them both for the jobs they are made for. The GSA is a very capable bike offroad - if you are willing to stay on the gas and keep it moving. Slow down and you're done. In the mud/sand it's a beast, but with decent tires it will go better than you'd think. There are two huge problems though:

    First, if you are really "adventure riding" then having a 600lb behemoth just does not work. They fall like a brick and are a bitch to pick up on any sort of incline / soft ground. Anytime you want to do a water crossing or get into a spot where you need to cross over stuff, you really need to watch the weight. For instance, using local bridges or little boats - it's very easy to find out you just can't use local transport and then need to go far out of your way to get to the other side. It really doesn't help that people tend to overpack like manhattan women at a shoe sale on the big bikes either.

    Secondly, there is the issue of crashing. Although to be fair, I will say the big KTM's are much better at taking the hits without so much damage compared to the BMW's. crashing on the big bikes can cause a lot of damage which costs a bundle to fix, and take more time to do the work on, generally because there's just more stuff that needs to come apart to do the work.

    The 530 however, is just plain fantastic for serious trail work - that you need to ride too. I say that because ideally it would be great to ride a 200 on trails where the lighter weight and better maneuverability is just that much better. But I've done 200 mile days on it (mixture road / dirt) and its just a gem. The only thing I would do is get FI so I am not fiddling with a carb, but even then, that brings its own issues - so again, for true "adventure riding" I personally think a carb is an advantage. Also, it helps with the overpacking issues, you can pick it up yourself, it will out handle any big bike offroad and is very easy to work on.

    For me, it's a clear delineation; the GSA is for my long rides/tours that gives me the option for some light offroad to get to out of the way places a true touring bike can't do, and the 530 for true offroading/camping/adventure riding. It's a lot faster on the road than people think too - but the small oil capacity limits the kind of riding where you'd be putting on high mileage highway riding.
    #19
  20. Orangecicle

    Orangecicle On a "Quest"

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,106
    Location:
    West Des Moines, IA
    Had another thought on this topic. I was watching a photographer a bit ago taking pictures of a balloon race. The guy had the best of equipment, but it was all the latest Nikon stuff -- very heavy. He kept looking at me and my Fuji X-Pro1 -- a mirrorless "gizmo" that harkens back to the Leica that once was -- little small cameras that just worked.

    [​IMG]

    We probably got very similar shots, but when I got home, my back didn't hurt. :rofl
    #20